I have several friends and relatives living in the USA and Canada, where they had that ridiculous speed limit of 55 mph, brought in 10 years ago because of fuel shortages and recently increased to 65. Now anybody can work out that one jumbo jet flying across the Atlantic will use more fuel on one trip than the average motorist will use in a lifetime of motoring, so now they say the speed limit is for safety.
It is a common belief over there that it is neither of these things, but big business. The airline companies want the very low speed limits to encourage the motorists to use the airlines for long-distance travel and use their lobby to keep highway speed limits down.
I believe we have a similar situation in this country! Speed does not kill, as the police say – bad driving kills, at any speed. To a lesser extent than in the States, the private motorist is being persecuted to push him onto public transport such as British Rail or the bus companies, and perhaps later the inter-city airline companies. The recent BR advertisement is a case in point.
Another point is how many times have your readers seen truck or coach drivers stopped for speeding?
I’m not saying that those drivers are reckless. I’m sure they are very experienced and competent drivers and the vehicles are capable of handling that speed on motorways. But so am I, and so is my vehicle, in fact most modern vehicles.
No, the persecution of motorists and the held-down speed limits of 70 mph are a deliberate political policy to make public transport profitable, and are nothing to do with safety. They give themselves away by imposing the same speed limit on dual-carriageways as on motorways, the former being far less safe.
Bad driving in cities is also ignored. I see taxis overtaking police cars at 50 mph and being ignored, taxis doing U-turns in the High Street, people jumping traffic lights on red, taxis picking up and putting down passengers on pedestrian crossings and motorcycles doing 60 mph-plus wheelies down the main shopping street on a Saturday lunchtime, turning around at the end of the road and doing it again. Not a patrol car in sight, even though it happens most weekends. Double standards!
BA George, Torpoint, Cornwall